Election 2012: Local attorney, seal advocate hopes Lightner won’t strike twice at City Hall

Bryan Pease

Dist. 1
Term: Four years
City Council member base salary: $75,000
Council District 1: La Jolla, University City, Torrey Hills, Torrey Pines, Carmel Valley, Del Mar Mesa, Rancho Peñasquitos, Torrey Highlands, Pacific Highlands Ranch, Black Mountain Ranch
Population: 188,625

By Pat Sherman

Note: The La Jolla Light recently met with public-interest attorney and District 1 City Council candidate Bryan Pease (Democrat) to discuss his candidacy. Interviews with the incumbent, City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner (Democrat), and challenger Ray Ellis (Republican), can be viewed here.

Though largely known to La Jollans as the maverick attorney working to get a rope barrier separating humans and seals established at the Children’s Pool year-round, Bryan Pease now has another mission: to be elected to the San Diego City Council.

Whether voters agree with Pease’s pro-seal, pro bono legal work, the candidate believes he offers a welcome alternative to fellow Democrat and incumbent, Sherri Lightner.
“I was kind of hoping that somebody would challenge Sherri from the progressive end of the spectrum, rather than just having the choice be between her and a Republican,” said Pease, 33.

Lightner received an early endorsement from the San Diego County Democratic Party. However, the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council and League of Conservation Voters’ San Diego chapter have yet to endorse a candidate in the race — something Pease believes he can shore up based on Lightner’s support for managed competition, her environmental record and a perceived anti-labor vote on the Walmart issue.

“She voted to not have Walmart have to do an economic impact report on what effect it’s going to have on the community,” said Pease, an upstate New York native who recently purchased a condo in the UTC area. “The league of conservation voters gave her a C+ overall on her environmental report card, which is the worst grade of anyone on the council, other than Carl DeMaio.”

Though Pease has been characterized by those favoring Lightner as a spoiler who will take votes away from the incumbent in the June 5 primary election, he has a different perspective.

“A lot of Democrats are excited about me running — some are not,” he said. “The idea is, well, you’re going to force her to a runoff against Ray in November, but what if Ray were to beat her in June, because a lot more Republicans vote in June

“I think it’s actually better to have a couple of Democrats in the race in June who can appeal to different segments of the voters, and let the voters ultimately decide,” Pease said. “Let’s have more democracy … and a real election here.”

Though he has little experience in public office, Pease once worked for eight months in the legislative office of former New York Assemblyman Peter Rivera. He currently serves on the board of the Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Market, a member-owned vegetarian consumer co-op.

“As a board we’ve made fiscally responsible decisions and we’ve paid down the mortgage of the building from $1.5 million owed (to $500,000) since I joined four years ago,” he said. “I know how to read a balance sheet.

In regard to fixing the city’s pension crisis, Pease said he believes the issue is somewhat blown out of proportion

“You’ve got the Carl DeMaio people who are trying to kind of blame everything on librarians,” he said. “There are some people who are making six-figure pensions, but those are the administrators. That’s a very small segment. Most of the pensions are very reasonable and not very large at all.

Pease believes that bargaining is the key to reducing the city’s pension deficit, and not the proposed Comprehensive Pension Reform initiative, which would replace most city pensions with a 401(k)-style retirement plan

“It’s just going to undercut the whole bargaining process,” said Pease, who’s also no fan of the city’s managed competition mandate

“I think there’s definitely an over-emphasis on privatization that’s not a good idea,” he said. “When you start to privatize services that are actually the point of government, you’re basically just providing cash benefits to private industries.

In regard to building a new Chargers Stadium downtown, as Union-Tribune publisher Doug Manchester, Mayor Jerry Sanders and others are championing, Pease said, “If it’s good for the city, sure, I’ll vote for it

“You have to look at the way these contracts are written,” he said. “You’ve just got to pay attention to what’s being voted for and what’s being allowed and make sure you’re getting what is being put on the table — and not something else being written in that isn’t being discussed.

Though Pease said he’s passionate about a number of issues in the race, the environment tops the list. He shies away from being pigeonholed as an “animal rights activist,” though it dominates his resume, beginning with his advocacy for the seals, which started shortly after he graduated from law school and moved to San Diego in 2004.

“I was actually able to get a temporary restraining order in federal court to block the dispersal and dredging of the beach,” Pease said. “Sherri was the one council vote saying the city should dredge the beach and get rid of the seals. I was, like, really? You want us to spend millions of taxpayer dollars dredging the beach and chasing seals away? It’s not only environmentally unfriendly, but fiscally irresponsible.”

Pease’s animal advocacy work includes helping to found the Animal Protection and Rescue League, a San Diego non-profit that works to expose animal cruelty. He also has protested the fur industry and worked to stop restaurants from serving foie gras, a paté made from the artificially enlarged livers of ducks or geese that have been fattened through force-feeding.

Pease became an animal rights advocate at age 16, after reading about the abuses taking place at factory farms in John Robbins’ book “Diet for a New America.”
He holds a bachelor’s degree in human development from Cornell University and law degree from State University of New York at Buffalo.

Related posts:

  1. Incumbent La Jolla city council rep challenged for seat
  2. Bryan Pease, animal rights activist, to run against incumbent Sherri Lightner for District 1 City Council Seat
  3. Coming soon? Talk is back of ads on city’s beaches
  4. Lightner calls for sustainable water supply strategy
  5. Lightner puts newsletter online

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=59119

Posted by Pat Sherman on Feb 21, 2012. Filed under La Jolla, News, Region. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

8 Comments for “Election 2012: Local attorney, seal advocate hopes Lightner won’t strike twice at City Hall”

  1. Dave

    Lightner is a proven, well rounded council member who has demonstrated time and time again, year after year, that she can set aside her personal emotions, and do what is best for the citizens of her district in the city of san diego in general.

    Let's face it folks, while Pease has a stance on other issues, he is really a single issue candidate and it is the seal issue. There is nothing wrong with that, but I think he does not have the experience required for the job or the ability to set aside his own personal feelings about the seal issue and represent all of the constituants in the district. Pease's record does not demonstrate that he can put aside his personal feelings. We need city council members that will be able to focus on more things than just a single issue. I don't think Pease can do that, and lightner has already proven she can. District 1 needs the proven, rational, excellent leadership Lightner can provide.

  2. bigdipper

    Lightner's vote not to ask the State to gut the trust that protected Childrens' Pool was a reflection of her constituency and her forsight. To avoid the courts, the City Attorney had to solicit a ruling from the State Lands Commission that the State, and not San Diego, has full jurisdiction over our tidelands and no land grant or trust is inviolate. When the State figures out it is since entitled to any part of the proceeds from Lindberg Field and the Port Authority, the full price will be known. Had the City obeyed the courts and restored the historic Pool we would now have the world class historic tourist attraction we once had and the seals would be back anyway.
    Meanwhile Pease's obstructionist legal maneuvers have cost the City the millions. The measures he wrote, which Donna Frye bullied through, also contain the requirement to close the beach for 5 months every year, which violates the Trust and the State Constitution so there will be lots of litigation to enrich more lawyers. He now wants big fees for suing the City to force it down this path. He has turned a historic beach into a circus and a battleground, exploiting big eyed animals for a shield.
    His organization solicits on the sidewalk there and collects big money for his "non-profit" organization and he is suing all the other vendors to drive them away on the grounds their prices are too low and diminish his organization's profits. As he said, "I know how to read a balance sheet".

  3. cyberKICK

    I love how he talks about saving millions of dollars by not allowing the cleanup of the beach. The millions of dollars were then spent fighting him in court. Lawsuit after lawsuit. Imagine, if he hadn't opposed the beach cleanup and beautification project right now the wall would be refurbished, as well as the lifeguard tower, bathrooms, railings and retaining walls, and the bluff wouldn't be eroding due to the lack maintenance. Typical.

  4. sealnutcracker

    Pro-bono . . . are you kidding? This guy makes his living suing the City of San Diego.

    For the rest of the story of Pease's background see the website at: activistcashdotcom

  5. Dimple

    Pease is a criminal http://activistcash.com/biography.cfm/b/3247-brya....

    When not suing the city with frivolous lawsuits he rakes in his own 6 figures doing "animal activism" which turns out to be highly lucrative. Sorry Dolly, if you actually valued when people obey the law and earned an honest living then you would see through Pease's masquerade.

  6. Seal Team 6

    Bryan Pease will close the childrens Pool and has sued the county for Youth hunting, what do you have against children? How many children do you have?

  7. Bill

    Seals can go anywhere they want. Where my interest lies is in a shared use approach as it is now. Pease is very comfortable fomenting the rancor the the activists to the detriment of the La Jolla community. He even hawks votes at rallies at the Children's Pool. There are a lot of streets named for him…"one way." I will work for Sherri Lightner's reelection. Pease seems incapable of building a balanced approach to human rights versus rights animals. He is not fiscally sound in his practices. He has and continues to cost the city money.

  8. rhyne_26

    Clearly this shows how out of touch this guy is from what's "good" for the enviornment…
    “I was actually able to get a temporary restraining order in federal court to block the dispersal and dredging of the beach,” Pease said. “Sherri was the one council vote saying the city should dredge the beach and get rid of the seals. I was, like, really? You want us to spend millions of taxpayer dollars dredging the beach and chasing seals away? It’s not only environmentally unfriendly, but fiscally irresponsible.”
    I mean after all, call any SD beach report daily and they'll mention the ongoing water contamination from the seals. It's a known scientific fact that the high number of seals at CP is a strain on their food source in the area. And lets not forget that the seals didn't start frequenting this beach until Sea World started releasing injured/rehabilitated seals there in the 90's because it was more "cost effective" than taking them 9 miles offshore like they used to do. This is a man made issue and Bryan Pease is doing nothing more than the usual harassment and manipulation of our community and political system. The only reason this group has locked onto the seals so tightly is because it generates hundreds of thousands of dollars annually… tax free of course. They don't have a permit to sell goods there. And then they use this money to sue the city of San Diego, over and over again.

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